Does Marijuana Affect Your Dental Health?
Some of this information is from the January 2016 issue of AGD Impact and from the July/August 2017 issue of Discover
Why should your dentist care whether you use Marijuana? Because Marijuana can affect your dental health and your dental treatment!
As the use of Marijuana becomes more common, we will continue to see more of the possible side effects. Thankfully, the legalization of this drug has made it easier for patients to report drug use. Turns out marijuana can affect your dental health!
- The rate of decay can increase. We have seen disastrous examples of this in patients using chewables especially when combined with a dry mouth from other drugs they are taking or diseases.
- Marijuana use may make you more likely to consume sweet, salty, or foods containing a lot of refined carbohydrates and you may be less likely to maintain proper hygiene – a double whamy in terms of decay.
- Marijuana use may leave a slimy dark stain in the tartar or calculus that forms on the teeth that may be difficult to remove. More slime, more tartar, more bacteria, more gum disease and periodontal disease, and more decay.
- By using Marijuana, you may be at a higher risk of contracting HIV.
- Marijuana abuse can lead to frequent vomiting which can severely harm the teeth by acid erosion. (there are some studies that THC can be helpful with nausea from chemo)
- Long-term use can lead to panic disorders and psychosis. Repeated exposure can negatively affect the areas of your brain dealing with forming memories. (remember to brush and floss correctly and eat healthy!)
- And, yes, you can develop a dependence. If you are trying to kick the habit (Yea!) expect mood swings, trouble sleeping, changes in appetite.
Everyone may think they are immune to the risks. The benefits must be compared with the risks. Some risks can be minimized by proper oral hygiene (just a friendly tip). So, what are the benefits? I’ll have you ask your medical doctor for that one. It is difficult to compare studies due to how the studies are fashioned and the doses and forms of cannabinoids used.
In the January 2016 issue of AGD Impact the following was noted:
Because Marijuana use can affect your dental health, it is important to be straightforward in informing your dentist about any drugs that you are taking as many can have oral side effects. Even herbal, medicinal and recreational Marijuana. Marijuana use has increased steadily over the last 10 years especially among adolescents, who may not really understand the risks.
Please keep this in mind if you are having a dental procedure completed, “Topical application or local injection of products containing epinephrine, which can dangerously prolong tachycardia, should be avoided . . . as they can lead to complications in the operatory (treatment room).”
What does this mean for you?
If you have recently used cannabis, and you are having any procedure that includes either topical anesthetic (a hygienist may use a solution or gel to make your cleaning more comfortable) or a shot and you need to inform the dental team. Just tell your dentist or hygienist about your recent cannabis use and request that no epinephrine be used for your procedure. Epinephrine could cause extended time with a high heart rate which can cause problems. Avoid marijuana for at least seven days before a scheduled dental appointment that includes anesthesia.
Your health history is confidential and the information you provide should help your dental team take the best care of you. Let your dentist and dental team know the following:
- Recent use (smoking or ingesting)
- Type of use (edibles, smoking, both)
- How long have you done this?
- Purpose (for pain, recreation)?
More information will continue to surface about marijuana use and its affect on your dental health as the use continues and increases. Our office will try to keep you posted.
Yours for better dental health,
Julie Gillis DDS, PC
Restoring Smiles/Restoring Health